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Reading Police Department School Resource Officer G.R.E.A.T. Program

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $73,483)

The Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program is a life-skills competency program designed to provide students with the skills they need to avoid gang pressure and youth violence. G.R.E.A.T.'s violence prevention curricula help students develop values and practice behaviors that will help them avoid destructive activities. G.R.E.A.T. program staff coordinate project activities with federal, regional, state, and local agencies, as well as individuals from community and civic groups. The goal of the program is to train criminal justice professionals to deliver a school-based curriculum that teaches life-skills competencies, gang awareness, and violence-avoidance techniques.

The Reading Police Department, in collaboration with the Reading School District, will use the G.R.E.A.T. grant award to deliver curriculum to four middle and two magnet schools. The Reading Police Department's four-officer team focuses primarily on outreach through classroom presentations to reach between 730-1,200 students at each of the four middle schools and the two magnet schools for an overall enrollment of approximately 4,000 middle school students (grades 6-8). These four officers will be trained to deliver the Middle School G.R.E.A.T. component to all sixth grade students in the Reading School District. Courses will combine the practical aspects of conflict resolution, social responsibility, peer pressure recognition, refusal skills, anger management, and communication skill building. Each complete series takes 13 weeks to deliver. Students enrolled in G.R.E.A.T. will also be referred to other programs that are suitable for them and will further enhance their education. G.R.E.A.T. participants will be encouraged to join their neighborhood youth centers such as: Olivet Boys and Girls Clubs - Police Athletic League, Y.M.C.A., 3rd and Spruce Recreation Center, and the 11th and Pike Recreation Center. This will provide some supervised recreational activities and other services such as tutoring and homework help during the after school hours.

As an active partner in the 222 Corridor Anti-Gang Initiative, the Reading Police Department's implementation of the G.R.E.A.T. program will consist of a direct collaboration between the City of Reading and the Reading School District to deliver the program within the schools. Additionally, guidance on program implementation will be provided from stakeholders in the community, Communities That Care Coalition, and representatives from the federal Weed and Seed Initiative. Program evaluation services will be provided by the Community Prevention Partnership of Berks County.


Date Created: July 29, 2008